“Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities in trying to open K-through-12s,” Redfield said on Good Morning America. “It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward.”
The original guidelines include spacing desks six feet apart, having children wear cloth masks, closing communal areas like dining halls and playgrounds, and installing physical barriers such as sneeze guards in some instances, according to CNN. Some schools also reportedly anticipate only opening several days a week and potentially alternating days on which kids are taught so classrooms aren’t at full capacity.
On Wednesday, Redfield had appeared to backtrack on the original guidelines as they came under attack from Trump for being too onerous and “expensive.”
“Remember, it’s guidance, it’s not requirements, and its purpose is to facilitate the reopening and keeping open the schools in this country,” Redfield had said at the task force briefing. At the same briefing, Pence declared: “We don’t want the guidance from CDC to be a reason why schools don’t open.” Apparently, children’s safety is an extraneous consideration while the economy is paramount.
But for now, the CDC appears to be shrugging off the broadside by Trump and Pence. Who knows, maybe the nation’s infectious disease experts are looking at Trump’s handiwork on reopening the economy and thinking they don’t want to put millions of kids and their families at physical risk simply because Dear Leader is demanding it.